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Honors Programs

Illinois offers three interconnected honors programs for high-achieving, high-ability students.

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Program Descriptions

  • College Honors Programs: Each college at the University of Illinois has its own honors program. These programs are part of a system known as Illinois Honors, and students in these programs are James Scholars.
  • Campus Honors Program (CHP): This is a small campus-wide honors program including students from every college. These students are known as Chancellor’s Scholars.
  • Departmental Honors Programs: These programs normally admit students as sophomores and are offered in the Colleges of Applied Health Sciences, Business, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Things to Know

  • Notification will be sent out by the end of March to those students invited into an Honors Program.
  • Participation is not limited. You can consecutively complete more than one program over the course of your undergraduate career.
  • Some programs admit entering freshmen, while others are designed to accept students in later semesters.
  • If not initially invited, you may petition to gain admittance to an honors program after your first or second semester.
  • In addition, the University of Illinois works with currently enrolled, high achieving students in applying for various nationally competitive awards through the National and International Scholarships Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I join an honors program?

Honors programs at Illinois provide extra academic opportunity for students of exceptional ability. If you crave challenges and exceed academic expectations, an honors program will benefit you. These programs can help you be experimental and adventurous as a scholar and a researcher, and to build friendships with students who share those values.

Consider your future. Doing honors work and graduating with honors can have practical, professional value as prospective employers and graduate schools often look for evidence of extra initiative and intellectual depth throughout your undergraduate experience.

The strongest appeal of Illinois’ honors programs, however, can be the community it fosters among lively, ambitious students and distinguished faculty.

When can I join?

Some of these honors programs will contact you to offer you admission before you begin your first semester at Illinois. Other programs become available later in your college career, as your interests and aspirations evolve, and as your level of achievement qualifies you for admission. As an undergraduate, don't hesitate to check with these programs directly if you are interested in belonging.

If you are selected for one of these competitive programs, you will be notified directly by that program.

How do I apply for honors programs?

Unless otherwise noted, for most honors programs that admit freshmen, your Undergraduate Application for Admission is the same application used for admission into all honors programs. Your GPA and standardized test scores are reviewed and your essay responses are considered very carefully.

If you are interested in joining an Illinois honors program, be sure to give complete and honest answers to every question on the application form. When the names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of teachers, coaches, or mentors are asked for, you need to provide them accurately.

Write your best essay(s). Utilize this opportunity to describe your interests, goals, and achievements as thoroughly as you can.

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